Last night I was working on my soon-to-be-posted page advertising my freelance editing services (stay tuned for that), and I realized there's really a lot I don't know about the biz. I really hate that realization - when you get all jazzed up about a new endeavor (especially one you think you're qualified to take part in!), only to discover there's way more you don't know. Crap.
So I've decided to learn as much as I can about types of copy editing (in college I thought copy editing was just that, and in my editing class for journalism it might have been, but fiction is a different beast), which ones I can competently and realistically do for my clients, what the going rates are, how much of a time commitment it might be for me, and some of the other, more mundane details (like how to set aside money for taxes and how much, and how to collect payment - eek!). Keep in mind, this is all in addition to the full-time job and the little tidbits of time I cobble together into some semblance of a life. I might be crazy for trying to do this. But I'm willing to give it a go.
I've been editing in some form since college. And I've been writing since junior high. I was managing editor of my university's school newspaper, and then immediately after college got a reporting job at a small-town newspaper that afforded me lots of opportunity for editing and layout. We got paid pennies, but I wouldn't trade the skills I learned or the people I met for any amount of money. At my current job I do a lot of editing of scientific reports, draft regulations and a lot of self-editing of press releases, articles and other public outreach materials, since I'm a one-woman PR show here. Occasionally I even get the chance to edit something coming from outside these walls for our partners. I like to think that the practice has kept me sharp. Aside from my day-job, I worked for a fan fiction site for nearly three years, editing the fics that were submitted. I've also done a lot of gratis editing (from basic all the way up to developmental) for friends who write fan fiction and original fiction.
I love doing it. It satisfies my inner perfectionist, and gives me a unique satisfaction.
People genuinely seem grateful for my "services." The real test will be to see if people will actually pay for it. Wish me luck.